Montag, 3. Juni 2013

"Raggedy man, goodbye."

It's official that Matt Smith will be leaving "Doctor Who" in/after this year's Christmas Special. And I'm super sad. I've been moping around ever since I got the news yesterday. My mum even asked me if something bad had happened, but I refused to tell her because she'd never understand. I don't even really understand it myself. Most of the people who know me probably won't understand, especially those how know how hard a time I had accepting Matt as the Doctor in the first place. 
When Christopher Eccleston left, I didn't want anyone else to play the Doctor. And I didn't want to like David Tennant because everyone seemed to like him so much and he was easy on the eye. I really thought people just liked him for his looks. I wanted to hold onto Eccleston so fiercely, because he was the reason I started watching "Doctor Who" in the first place. It was such a shock when Eccleston's Doctor regenerated and suddenly this young jumpy bloke appeared who reminded me so much of Tigger from "Winnie the Pooh". And he smiled this smile and was all cute and I felt myself falling this guy instantly. But I still refused to let myself like him, let him charm me with his cute smile and great hair. But then I watched "The Christmas Invasion", his first episode, and he spent most of the time unconscious and clad in pajamas. But then he woke up and he quoted "The Lion King" and flirted with Rose and I found myself absolutely smitten with this adorable adorable man. And from this moment on, David Tennant was my Doctor. And he always will be. Christopher Eccleston will always have a special place in my heart because he was my first Doctor, but David Tennant will always be the one for me. My Doctor. 
When David finally regenerated, I was in tears. I was devastated. I didn't want him to go. Never. I know it's unfair, because, of course David should be allowed to go and play other roles and not have to be the Doctor for the rest of his career/life. And he did and went on to do really awesome shows and movies , not to mention his work on stage (which is what he should be doing, really. Because he's an amazing stage actor.). But I did not want to let him go. And I certainly did not want to accept this silly Matt Smith bloke. 'Cause that's what he was to me. Just some silly young bloke who made the Doctor act way too childish. Everything he did seemed just so slapstick. There were some really nice moments there from the beginning as well, but Matt's Doctor just never managed to sweep me off my feet as David did. I got used to Matt after a while. There were still moments when I desperately wished for David Tennant to come back. And if I'm being perfectly honest, I still miss David a lot. But it got better. And I learned to enjoy watching Matt Smith in the role. In retrospect, I think the reason why I had such problems getting used to this new Doctor might have been a mix of several factors: new Doctor, new companions, new writer. Maybe that was just too much change at once. When Christopher Eccleston regenerated into David Tennat, Rose was still there as the companion. There was this constant. And then David Tennant was there with changing companions. And the writer was still Russell T. Davies, of course. There was still that. When David and RTD left, everything changed. The whole show felt different. I cannot say if it would have been easier for me to accept Matt Smith had RTD still been in charge of the show. You all know that I don't enjoy Steven Moffat's writing all that much. But I don't blame him for my initial problems with Matt. I know that Matt would never have become my Doctor. That will always be David Tennant. After a while, I think it might have been the "Vincent and the Doctor" episode, I started to accept this new Doctor. I also started to separate Matt's acting from Moffat's writing. There are still times when I really dislike some of the things this Doctor says or does, but these things are not Matt. They're simply in the script. And there are a lot of delightful moments as well. Moments when I really like this Doctor, Matt's Doctor. And since Jenna-Louise Coleman became his new companion Clara, I really started to enjoy "Doctor Who" a lot more again. Not that the Ponds hadn't been good companions, I liked them well enough and was even a little sad when they left (not as sad as when Rose or Donna left, but then, if David Tennant is my Doctor, Rose and Donna are my companions), but the chemistry between Matt and Jenna is different again, and I just really really enjoy watching them on screen together. I also started to appreciate Matt Smith's Doctor even more. Oh, and Matt was simply brilliant in "A Nightmare in Silver". I knew he was a good actor, but I feel like this episode really showed off his acting skills. He simply blew me away. 
But now that I found this whole new appreciation for Matt Smith as the Doctor he will only be in two more episode and then he'll be gone. And there will be a new actor taking his place, as he took David Tennant's place 4 years ago. By now I know that the fact that there will be a new Doctor won't make me stop watching the show. And I decided to give them a fair chance. Who knows, I might like whomever they cast even better than Matt Smith. And maybe they will have great chemistry with Jenna (should she be staying) as well. It could be great. (Of course I'm a bit disappointed that Steven Moffat is probably going to stay, but that's got nothing to do with Matt leaving.) It could be wonderful. I might not even be missing Matt. Who knows?
But for now, I'm just really sad that Matt will be leaving. Okay?

Sonntag, 19. Mai 2013

Steven Moffat is a Genius! - Doctor Who 7x13 "The Name of the Doctor"

You gotta give that to Steven Moffat - that man's a genius! Changing the entire canon of 50 years of television within one 45 minutes episode. Not many writers would have been capable to do that! And I think it deserves a round of applause and a review:

Doctor Who 7x13 The Name of the Doctor

I have to say, I absolutely ADORED the opening sequence. I loved how ALL THE DOCTORS were in there, the CLASSIC DOCTORS, in COLOUR (when two of them did never even exist in colour!). The editing team did a really great job on that, and I loved seeing situations from Classic Who episodes. *sigh* My Doctors. And Clara's outfits in each of the times were really cute, too. (Yeah, I'm still a girl, I like to look at pretty clothes!)
And Clara is floating on a leaf? All I could think of was: "I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."  - Sorry, but how could it not remind me of Firefly/Serenity? Oh Wash *cries* And it got me thinking...
[Caution: major crack ensuing] First of all: No wonder Clara is dying all the time - we know that being a leaf on the wind basically kills you. Look at Wash. And then I thought: What if Wash - who couldn't explain what it means but was muttering this sentence like a mantra - what if Wash was a future incarnation of the Doctor, his last incarnation, and deep in his subconscious he still remembered Clara and connected her to leafs, and he knew he was gonna die this time, and remembered Clara always saving him, and that's why he talked about leafs on the wind shortly before he died. I know it's completely ridiculous, but I also kind of like the idea.
Uhm... on with the schedule:
One the one hand, Clara being present in all the Doctor's timelines made me happy, because we got to see all the Classic Doctors and some extremely good editing. But I also hated the way it was done. Because now, it seems as if Clara was the most important companion of all of them, because she was there ALL THE TIME, saving the Doctor over and over again. It just implies that without Clara, the Doctor would never have survived his first incarnation. Hell, he would never even have picked his TARDIS - which is basically THE PREMISE for everything that ever happened on Doctor Who! And not only that, in Neil Gaiman's beautiful "The Doctor's Wife" we learned that, in fact, it wasn't the Doctor who stole the TARDIS, but the TARDIS who chose to appeal to this Doctor, so she could steal him! Which was a wonderful idea that is now spoiled by Clara telling the Doctor to take this particular TARDIS.
And thus, Steven Moffat managed to change 50 years of DW history in just one episode. And I did mean it when I said that this made him a genius. Because now, the entire show is changed by him. He literally managed to influence the past 50 years. To infiltrate. With HIS idea. HIS plot. HIS companion. I don't think any other writer of television would have ever been able to conduct such an idea. I also don't think that many other writers would have had the sheer arrogance to do so. 'Cause that what it is. Arrogance. Major arrogance on Steven Moffat's part. And it might have been a genius move, but that doesn't mean I like it. In fact, I hate it. I hate the fact that Moffat always has to make everything about himself. And his stint as a show runner. And that he tries to imply that the companions he created were in any way more important than the companions before them. Because they're not. They're just NOT! Each and every companion on this show was important. They all saved the Doctor. They all shaped the Doctor. They made him who he is now! And that's why everyone has their own favourite companion. Because no companion was better or more important than any other. And Steven Moffat already tried to undermine this when he made series 6 all about the Ponds and River Song and made River Song the Doctor's wife. But that was only one timeline. And now he messed with ALL OF THE DOCTORS' TIMELINES! I mean, I like Clara. I think she's cute and funny and awesome and I enjoy watching her interact with the Doctor. She's his impossible girl. But I really don't want her to be the Doctor's most important girl. Because it's not right.

Speaking of companions:

I always enjoy seeing the Paternoster Gang back. I like Vastra, Jenny and Strax.  They should get their own mini-spinoff series in the manner of "Pond Life". That would be fun. I really loved their role in "The Snowmen" and "The Crimson Horror", but to be honest, I'm not quite sure as to their particular purpose in "The Name of the Doctor". Alright, Vastra had to call in that conference during which River latched on to Clara's mind, Jenny had to die and Strax had to bring her back to life and I suppose they were supposed to illustrate the consequences of the Doctor's death (with Jenny being dead and Strax seeing Vastra as an enemy), but when the Doctor was dying (over and over again) and even before, when he told them to keep the Great Intelligence from jumping into his scar tissue and messing with his past, they were perfectly useless. They DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Just stood and watched. But we've seen them fight before. We know how capable they are! Why would they just stand there now?! It makes absolutely no sense. And I suppose one could have solved the River-Clara connection in some other way.
Jenny's death, even if not really needed for the overall plot, made me realise another thing I really dislike about Moffat's writing: Death doesn't mean anything anymore. Moffat kills of characters all the time: Rory, Clara, Jenny - even River to some extent - but in the end they're always still alive. There's no consequences to dying anymore. So, if a character dies, you don't even feel sad or emotional about it anymore, because by now, you just expect them to be back and perfectly alright at some point.

But at least we seem to be done with River Song now...? At least it looks that way. And I really really hope so. Yeah, I'm still not too fond of her. In fact, to me, River Song is one of the most annoying to ever appear on Doctor Who. A huge part of that has to do with Steven Moffat's writing and her characterization (another, smaller part has to do with Ms. Alex Kingston's acting). She was alright when she first appeared in series 4, but when Moffat kept on bringing her back again and again - having the Doctor marry her, no less - it just got too much. Partly because, as mentioned above, I hate this "this companion is more important than the others" stuff. I also really disliked the whole story surrounding her existence - being the daughter of Amy and Rory, conceived in the TARDIS, manipulated into killing the Doctor... I'm pretty sure I've already ranted about this plenty of times before.
Also, River's character really makes me dislike the Doctor at times. And we're not supposed to dislike the Doctor. At least, I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO dislike the Doctor. First of all: The Doctor used to be all about not using violence. He carries a SONIC SCREWDRIVER, not a SONIC BLASTER/ weapon. In "The Doctor Dances" (written by none other than Steven Moffat, but he must have forgotten that) the Doctor talks about a weapons factory that he destroyed and now there's a banana grove there. Because he doesn't like weapons. He likes bananas. Bananas are good. But somehow, as soon as River is concerned, he has no qualms about her using weapons and violence all the time. He even flirted with her while she was using her weapon. He doesn't even seem to care anymore. That's just wrong. And there's something else. He married her. He refers to her as his wife. And then... he acts really inconsistently towards her. Sometimes they kiss and he cares about her and is all choked up because he knows she's gonna die and he gets all emotional and acts as if he might really be in love with her. Other times, he behaves like a complete jerk. In "The Angels Take Manhattan" he just lets her break her wrist. He yells at her on so many occasions and gets mad at her even though she's not even at fault. And he doesn't even care when she's not around. As mentioned several times in this episode alone, he just leaves her behind without even bothering. She's his wife and he didn't even tell Clara she's a woman (btw. I loved Strax's dislike of River and Clara's sass towards her in the conference scene). One could argue that - as the Doctor pointed out to River - it just hurts too much for him to remember her or acknowledge her presence (how does that even work and don't make it into some philosophical "the people you love will never leave you" shit). Well, he doesn't really talk about any of his lost companions, at least not a lot - with Rose seemingly being the exception because he couldn't stop mentioning her to Martha (which was kind of douche-y and inconsiderate too, to think of it). So, does that mean they're all there with him all the time and he just ignores it? Or is River "special" in this regard too?
In case you were wondering: I disliked the kissing-goodbye scene a lot. Maybe I just don't want to be reminded of the Doctor's marriage. Maybe I just don't want him to love River Song. And to show it like that. Kissing her! The Doctor doesn't kiss. I'm talking about real kisses. Not forehead kisses out of affection or anything like that. Eight kissed Grace in the movie - first time a Doctor kissed a companion (but the movie doesn't really count, does it?). It has never happened before but I guess it was needed to please the American audience and Non-Whovians watching it not as part of Doctor Who, but as movie of its own. Nine kissed Rose in "The Parting of Ways" but only to save her life. Ten kissed Martha in "Smith and Jones" so he could use her to distract the Judoon. Eleven kissed Rory and, in "The Crimson Horror" Jenny - but in both cases, that wasn't anything romantic. And Eleven kisses River. Apparently in a romantic way. And it just feels wrong. I just really prefer the Doctor to have platonic relationships with his companion. Or non-requited feelings. Or, you know, they can both have feelings for each other but please don't act on it. Stuff like that. And I really dislike River Song. Anyway, I really hope she's gone for good now.

I'm kind of curious about how this whole John Hurt as the Doctor thing will play out in the end. For now, I can't really comment on that, because with Moffat, you never know. I know I don't want him to be a proper incarnations of the Doctor. Not some Doctor we "skipped". There's speculation he might be the Valeyard. It's a plausible theory, because that way he would somehow be the Doctor, but not really the Doctor. But we'll see. Since Moffat is such a genius he might be able to once again change the history of Doctor Who.

Freitag, 10. Mai 2013

To Fanfest or Not To Fanfest - Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special

I don't know what to say. Steven Moffat is just the most egotistical, power drunk and disrespectful douche on this darn fucking planet.

 Warning: Spoilers for the 50th Anniversary Special and unreserved Moffat hate.

 Remember how happy I was when there were rumors that all the Doctor's (living and dead) would be in the 50th Anniversary Special? Ok, that wasn't all true and the rumors weren't Moffat's fault. But it would have been what the 50th Anniversary should have been like.
But at least we got David Tennant and Billie Piper back – yay! I was a happy fangirl. There's proof in the form of pictures, so unless Moffat totally screwed up their characters, that one's still lovely news and makes me look forward to this episode.
 Then all the talk about Christopher Eccleston not being back after having had a talk with Moffat. I know some people were sad, but it was to be expected. As much as I'd like to believe that he wanted to be back and just didn't like Moffat's plans... I did love his Doctor, but it was never a secret that “Doctor Who” wasn't exactly Chris's favorite job, so I never really expected him to come back in the first place. He was never a fanboy as Tennant, and never as committed to the show as, let's say Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy or Paul McGann (doing all those audio plays and stuff).

Now, not asking any of the Classic Doctors if they wanted a part in the episode – and those are actors who really love this show, and, in fact, shaped “Doctor Who” into the huge success that it was and is... it would never have lasted for 50 years if it wasn't for them. Not asking them back... well, that's already kind of douche-y in itself. And disrespectful. (I know John Barrowman would have loved to take part as well, but... yeah, nevermind, he wasn't asked back either.)
I think not honoring the people who MADE THIS SHOW, though, that's the worst.

 And then this quote from Entertainment Weekly:
"It is important you don't turn it into a fanfest. We can't make this all about looking backwards. It's actually got to be the start of a new story."
Really, Moffat? When, do I ask you, would be a better opportunity for having a fanfest? It's the frikkin' fucking 50th Anniversary!!!!! And the show didn't last for 50 years because of your “genius”, it lasted this long because it had a faithful fanbase! And of course this episode should be about the fans that have stayed with the show for this long! Have you seen any of the other special episodes? Like... “The Three Doctors” or “The Five Doctors” - those were always fanfests! Because back then, the showrunners actually appreciated their fans!

And now, we get THIS SHIT?!!!!

I mean, not only is that cheating us of one regeneration – which, to be honest, I don't even care about anymore because... I don't know if I want to watch this show for much longer. I mean, I really enjoy the second half of series 7. Clara is a delightful companion and I feel like the stories are back to good old glory without too much of all that conspiracy theory – riddle – wibbly wobbly woozy stuff that has been shoved in our faces especially during series 6. Also, I really enjoy the current lack of River Song.
 But... I'm really afraid that all the power has gotten to Moffat's head. That guy seems to think he can do with the show whatever he wants, neglecting everything that has been established as canon prior to his reign. Also; I'm really starting to think he's just an egotistical madman.
 I always thought – at least that's what's always been said – that Moffat was a fan of the show. But to be honest, I cannot believe that anymore. There's just too much going on right now that doesn't seem very fanboy to me. At least not “Doctor Who” fanboy. It seems like the only thing that Moffat can be a fan of is himself.

 That someone is now to be the Ninth Doctor... that is unacceptable. To me this just feels like something to get back at Chris Eccleston for not wanting to participate. Like Moffat saying “You didn't want to play Nine, now someone else is going to be Nine.” And that's just childish and disrespectful (again).
 Not to speak of the fact that it messes with all the New Who counting. So Eccleston would then be the Tenth Doctor, Tennant the Eleventh and Matt Smith the Twelfth. Which means... that Matt will be the last Doctor to be able to regenerate.
 And this is just me being bitter and angry now, but it looks like Moffat wanted to make sure that he will be the last writer to ever write a regeneration. I know that's probably bonkers but I wouldn't put it past him. I feel like he wants to shape this show like no showrunner has shaped “Doctor Who” before. He wants put his mark on this one, make it his own. He doesn't want to work within the framework of the show, he wants to bend everything that ever was canon to his will. Make sure he's gonna be remembered.

 Oh, how I wish that Russell T. Davies was still running “Doctor Who” and was the one writing the 50th Anniversary episode. Not to say that he was perfect, but yes, I did and do prefer his writing to Moffat's. And I'm sure he would have turned the Anniversary Special into something wonderful and something that showed appreciation for the history of “Doctor Who”, as well as the fans who've stuck with the show for this long. Russell, please come back!

 Ok, now bring on the hate. But that's what I think.

Montag, 19. November 2012

I've declared war on the moon! - Doctor Who Christmas Special 2012 Prequel Minisode and Trailer

We got a prequel minisode for the Doctor Who Christmas Special!

"The Great Detective"
(Don't watch if you don't wanna be spoiled for the new companion)

It's Christmas and we're in Victorian London again – how original. But alright, I love me some “Christmas Carol” Dickensian Christmas vibe. Although, of course, we kinda already drew on that theme in the Christmas Specials 2008 and 2010. Especially in 2010, when Steven Moffat made his “Doctor Who” version of “A Christmas Carol”. But as I said: I love me some Dickensian Christmas too, so he shall be forgiven.

Madame Vastra is referred to as “The Great Detective” now? Anyone else thinking of Sherlock Holmes when reading/hearing that title? So what does that make Jenny, then? Dr. Watson? They detect, fight crime and are in a homosexual relationship. Are they now a gender- and race-swapped version of Sherlock and Watson from BBC's “Sherlock”? Who was the head writer on that one again? Oh, right...
I admit, I might have a bit of a problem with that. Simply because... how about trying to write something new?
Then again, I'm happy Vastra and Jenny are back. I loved them in “A Good Man Goes to War”. In fact, Vastra's tongue was the best thing about that episode. Please don't screw them up now. And please let the swords and the tongue action be back.

Matt Smith looks great in his mixture of a Dodger/ Ebenezer Scrooge outfit. He should be wearing a top hat more often. It's hot. (Gosh, I need to find myself a nice Victorian bloke – too bad they're all dead.)

I'm still looking forward to this year's Christmas Special very much.  

There's the promise of a new irrational fear for me. And the new companion who seems lovely. I might already like her. Then again: There's still plenty that could be screwed up about her. I liked Amy's character in the beginning too, after all. As for now, I decided to give it a chance. Series 5 was quite good after all, maybe a new companion will spice things up again and improve the show.

Samstag, 29. September 2012

Bye bye Ponds - Doctor Who 7x05 "The Angels Take Manhattan" Review

Uhm... I just watched the Ponds leave Doctor Who. I would lie if I said I'm not sad. I would also lie if I said I'm not disappointed. To be honest, my expectations for “The Angels Take Manhattan” were pretty high. I thought I would be in a puddle of tears by the end of this episode. I should have known better. Don't get me wrong. Moffat tried. He just didn't fully succeed.
But let's start from the beginning.
Oh and it was a promising beginning. Some of you might know that in the past years I have developed a love for all things film noir. So, when the episode began with a film noir-ish voice over account (written on a typewriter, oh how I love that noise) by a quite handsome P.I. (Garner, I think) - well, I was hooked. Or maybe I just like a guy in a fedora. Who knows? Or more important: Who cares? Add to that that it would be an episode featuring the weeping angels, some of my favourite DW villains... this just had to be good. (And we ignore the fact that the guy hiring that P.I. looked to me like a mixture of German ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl and Michail Gorbatschow in an Al Capone outfit) The introduction had the proper noir feel mixed with some DW excitement. Gotta leave that Moffat, he did that brilliantly. Although I presume that Nick Hurran, the director of this episode, did have his fair share in creating the atmosphere as well. He did great too. So when P.I. Garner found the old version of himself in that seedy apartment block and then was trapped by the weeping angels, fleeing to the roof where we see the Statute of Liberty, probably world's biggest weeping angel, looming above him... Come on, this just had to be a great episode. Unfortunately lots of the atmosphere broke after the credits and our P.I. didn't show up again... making it a... well... alright episode.
But maybe that's just me. I still enjoyed the Doctor and the Ponds hanging out in Central Park, the Doctor annoying Amy by reading his noir crime novel (that looks a lot like a Raymond Chandler one, but obviously isn't) out loud, Amy and Rory being ridiculously cute while the Doctor acts like a child embarrassed by his parents and Rory going to get some coffee. My alarm bells went off as soon as the Doctor mentioned the female femme fatale protagonist of his novel was named “Melody Malone”. Melody? That just had to mean River Song. (I usually like being right, but that was one of the few occasions that being right meant nothing good). And... I think I gotta say sorry in advance because this is where my complaining begins.... I thought the whole “Amy is getting older” bit was a bit pointless. She's no older than Rory and nobody commented on him getting older. It's been two and a half years since Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill first appeared on Doctor Who and they have not and could not have aged that much. I know it's been longer for the Ponds. What was it? Ten years? You never really know with those time travel shows. It's all way too wibbly wobbly timey wimey (and don't think I hadn't noticed the “timey wimey” mention in this episode – well played, Moffat, especially since it was you who first brought it up in series 3 and “Blink”, the first episode featuring the weeping angels). And yes, he brought up and tried to explain the importance of the ageing bit later on in the episode (which didn't make me like it more) but let me get to this... later. As far as the Doctor's “I hate endings” (and ripping last pages out of books) goes – it was nice as a foreshadowing, although not needed. And I can see the Doctor disliking endings, because he's experienced a few. Although those are rather goodbyes, not endings of stories. And... I didn't really buy it. Because – maybe it was actually mentioned or it's just my personal head canon – I think the Doctor is or must be a sucker for happy endings and for him to hate endings in general just makes no sense to me. Plus: “Books – the best weapons in the world!” (DW 2x02 “Tooth and Claw”). Why then would you rip out pages. That is never ok. What I did like – for a change – was the idea that everything that's going to happen next is also featured in the novel. That was a nice touch. (Oh, btw., Rory, regarding your “Only you could fancy someone in a book.” comment: You have absolutely no idea how many people fancy fictional characters. No idea whatsoever!)
Oh yeah, and then Rory – dear, unsuspecting Rory – gets zapped back in time by a weeping angel and meets... River Song. Objectively, River Song does not make an episode bad. But for me, it does. I didn't mind her when she first appeared in series 4. It was fine. She was in two episodes and I thought I would never have to see her again. Hey, she died after all! (Looking a lot younger than she does now, but let's just attribute that to some timey wimey stuff and the fact that Alex Kingston isn't immune to ageing while we only get to meet younger versions of River as times goes on. That's not a point of critique, I'm reasonable enough to know that it's inevitable.) It was still ok when she showed up in series 5. I even started to develop some sympathy for her there. When series 6 really transformed into “Doctor, who? - The River Song Show” and River first happened to be Amy's and Rory's daughter and then became the Doctor's wife.... I was done with this show for a while. If I had to name my least favourite series of Doctor Who it would definitely be series 6 and River Song is one of the main reasons for that. Also, Steven Moffat's obsession with her. Seriously. Is there any episode written by Moffat that does not at least reference her? And every episode featuring her was written by Moffat. Steven, it's time to let go. What really bugs me as well is the way in which River (Alex Kingston) calls the Ponds “Mum/ Dad”  - what I hate even more is the inconsistency of it that I noticed for the time really in this episode because she sometimes referred to them as “Amy/ Rory” too. Which makes no sense if she calls them “Mum/ Dad” on other occasions. Especially now that they know. “Sweetie” has begun to really get on my nerves too, and the whole domestic husband/wife stuff between the Doctor and her. Yes, they got married, thanks to Moffat and I hate it (for various reasons but let me write an extra rent on that, it's gonna be long), but it would not be as bad if he did not constantly shove it into our faces. In the most blatant way possible. In some other shows, an occasional joke on the domestic side would be endearing, but everything gets used up eventually and thus becomes annoying, plus: this is the Doctor we're talking about here. And it's just way out of character for him. It comes across as really ooc and it only gets worse with the age difference between Matt Smith and Alex Kingston (aka Mrs. Robinson). So, thanks to Steven Moffat my dislike for River Song has gone so far that I cannot enjoy an episode with her in it. And the plot of “The Angels Take Manhattan” would have worked well without her. She was not actually needed. And her absence would have made this episode so much better. But back to the plot.
The whole “you mustn't read ahead” in the book (aka “Spoilers!”) also made total sense to me. Because once you know what is supposed to be going to happen, you either try to work towards it, or to change it. Both would be bad, because it would mess with the natural course of events. And the mention of “once you know what's coming it's written in stone” interlaced with that shot of Rory's name on a gravestone (middle name: Arthur – I see what you did there) was really nice. Good use of sound and visuals.
I'm not sure about the whole thing with the Doctor not being able to land his TARDIS in the time where Rory's been zapped to... I don't remember an occasion when the Doctor was not able to do something like that (maybe in Classic Who?) and it was not really that well explained in this episode. Plus, this while Chinese vase landing lights thing it suddenly worked? Without problems? I think it might have made sense if the episode was built upon the Doctor not being able to get to where Rory is at all. Or only in the last minute, finally. But the way it worked here, it was another thing that just seemed a bit pointless to me. It created a quick “oh no, the Doctor's not gonna be able to go save Rory” only got it to work about 5 minutes later. Now, if you only have 42-45 minutes to tell a whole story – is it really wise to just waste 5 of them? For something that was not important to either the plot or character development. And in my opinion those wasted minutes could have been put to good use giving the the Ponds a bigger, better and more emotional goodbye.
Ok, let's go on where River does not try anything to help her dad, Rory, when that collector (Mr. Kohl/Gorbatschow/Capone) has him locked up in the basement with some weeping angel babies – cherubs – and only a box of matches. By that time, River is still free. She did not even say a word! She did not seem to care. In her defense, she might not have known what's down there, but she could have figured it would not be something pleasant. Poor Rory. And he's never actually encountered the weeping angels before. He does not know about the whole “Don't blink” thing! I'm not going to comment on the fact that there suddenly are baby weeping angels. We never had them before. It's also a bit illogical that there would be the need for babies. I mean, yeah, they could be weeping angels, but just because they have the form of a cherub statue as opposed to another one does not make them real babies, does it? They're just normal angels. (I find this so weird because the Doctor, who should know things like that, also refers to them as “baby angels”)
 And then River herself gets trapped by that chipped and chained angel. Which does neither zap her into the past nor make her turn into an angel herself (remember Amy in “Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone”?). But thankfully we hear TARDIS noises and “just you wait till my husband gets home” (I think I mentioned my opinion on remarks like that above) and the landing TARDIS basically electrocutes the collecting criminal into unconsciousness. “Sorry I'm late honey. Traffic was hell” - picture me rolling my eyes and fake vomiting. And the way in which the Doctor stood really close behind River – which in other shows would be the perfect picture of seduction (plus bedroom voice) – again: so ooc for the Doctor. At least it so doesn't fit the (or my?) image of the Doctor that the show has been creating over nearly 50 years now. That “booping” of River's nose was more like the Doctor again. And... “Doctor who?” reference! Still always a delight. But... good news: River is already a professor now which means it won't be too long until she dies in the library. And before that: Let's go an break River's wrist! Now, I'm usually not a violent person but I've come to be so annoyed by that character that hurting her always seems like a good idea.
So, they use chapter titles (because they cannot read the actual book)  - good one, Amy! - to find where Rory should have been in the basement but has been zapped away (as we find out a bit later, to that place where we last saw P.I. Garner in the introduction). And the Doctor spoils himself by reading the last two chapter titles “Death at Winter Quay” and “Amelia's Last Farewell” - again with the foreshadowing. He gets mad and tells River to get her wrist out of the angel's grip without breaking it (as opposed to what was written in the novel). I still think the episode could have worked well without River, but having River there, this scene was the one that made the best use of her in my opinion. Because the Doctor is getting mad shows how afraid he is that something is gonna happen to the Ponds. And he does not want that. He does not want to lose them. Instead of resigning and being sad, he becomes mad because he knows he actually cannot change what's written there. Instead, he wants River to change it, to change the course of events by not breaking her wrist. It's his last and only hope. But she fails. River has to break her own wrist (as written in the novel), then tries to hide it from the Doctor – he finds out of course, though. And I thought it was because she does not want the Doctor to know that she failed in changing the future, but her reason for hiding it is that “when one's in love with an ageless god who insists on the face of a 12-year-old, one does one's best to hide the damage”. So much wrong with that. Hiding it because she does not want to seem vulnerable? Damaged? And, as it seems when she explains to Amy later, aged? That's not something that would matter to the Doctor. You can be vulnerable. He would not like humans as much as he does if he didn't accept that. Yes, they often put a brave face on for him, but... well, oftentimes they simply are that brave. And being hurt is not a sign of weakness for him. I also won't believe that the Doctor cares about age. And because he doesn't like endings, he would switch his companions for younger ones. He'd never do that. He'd never voluntarily give up on one of his companions. And he traveled with people of pretty much all ages – he would have taken young Amelia, but he also had Wilfred Mott and Brian Williams on board and never commented on their age. The way River delivered this it just seems to be like Demi Moore trying to look and act younger for Ashton Kutcher so he won't leave her for someone younger and prettier. River just has a problem with getting older while the Doctor's face is getting younger. That's plain vanity. And the Doctor certainly is no “god” either. He is flawed, and he knows it. He certainly does not see himself as a god. And River seeing him as a god – well, how does that make her look her? She's supposed to come across as a strong, independent female and Moffat does so many things that make me, as a woman, cringe because she's so fixated on the Doctor almost like Twilight's Bella is on Edward. And now she even worships him as a god? That's just too much. But the worst moment was when the Doctor uses regeneration energy to heal her wrist. Is that even possible?! When has he done that before?! We saw people die on this show! And also: Why didn't he use his regeneration energy to heal Donna's brain so he would not have to wipe her memories? I mean... WHAT THE EFFING FUCK, MOFFAT?! What are you doing? (And I so hope this won't be a new thing: the Doctor has an actual healer.)
But let's comment on the better stuff as well. Like Amy finding Rory as well as old!Rory at Winter Quay. And yes, old, dying Rory being so happy to just be able to see Amy once more before dying made me tear up a little bit. Or would have, if the moment hadn't been over already before I was fully able to process it and interrupted by the Doctor's explanation of the building being a food source for the angels. I liked Amy taking (our) Rory's hand saying she “won't let them [the angels] take him” and them running away together. At this point I stopped caring about what happened the Doctor and River.
The Ponds on the roof. Oh my god, the Ponds on the roof. Best scene of the whole episode, if you ask me. I loved Rory's dry “I always wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty. I guess she got impatient”. And then his plan to actually kill himself by jumping off the roof to create a paradox, kill the angels and hopefully come back to live because of the paradox.
Amy: “Stop it! You'll die.”
Rory: “Yeah, twice. In the same building, on the same night. Who else could do that?”
and also:
Amy: “You think you'll just come back to life?”
Rory: “When don't I?”
Oh god, Rory. I love you and your dark humor (especially concerning your unique ability to die over and over again). But that was the scene that then truly made me tear up. Amy's panic at realizing what Rory was about to do. And Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan were brilliant in that scene. It was not the dialogue and action so much as the emotion in their acting. You could feel how much these two characters love each other. So much that either of them would die for the other.
And then Rory telling Amy to push him off the roof if she really loves him, her “if it was me, could you do it?” and his “to save you, I could do anything” - tears brimming in my eyes. And then when Amy decided to jump with him... because... she could not let him die and then go on living without him... “together or not at all” and I was actually sobbing (and totally ignoring the Doctor and River). It was all about the Ponds.  And I thought this was it – and would have been ok with that, as cheesy as it would have been.
But... I even have to say sadly, because I would have liked that ending better than the actual one... the paradox worked and they all ended up alive on the graveyard Amy and the Doctor had already ended up before. And there's River, being annoying again, referring to her parents as Amy and Rory once again... until Rory sees the gravestone with his name on it and gets zapped back in time unceremoniously by a weeping angel. Poof, just like that. No emotions. No time to feel anything about it. Just... poof and he's gone. (Hey Moffat, I thought the Ponds' departure was going to be “heartbreaking”? My heart was breaking in the scene before, not this one.) I admit, Amy deciding to let herself get zapped back by the angel to be with Rory, so she'll “be with him. Like I should be. Me and Rory together.” and her and the Doctor crying and the Doctor begging her to stay and Amy's “Raggedy Man. Goodbye” - that made me tear up a little again. But again, that was due to the brilliant and emotional acting of Karen Gillan and Matt Smith, because I found this second death/departure scene for the Ponds really unnecessary. It was like “we let the Ponds depart – twice within a few minutes”. Because one proper departure isn't enough. As I said, I was disappointed by this episode. I remember crying my heart out both in “Doomsday” when Rose got trapped in that parallel world and in “Journey's End” when the Doctor had to wipe Donna's memory. “The Angels Take Manhattan” just did not manage to tear at my heartstrings as much as the other departures did (except Martha, but she left voluntarily and happy). What made this one a bit more heartbreaking was the fact that Amy did end up with Rory but then had to outlive him by 5 years, which means she spent those years all alone, without him, her family or friends and with never seeing the Doctor again. And again: basically no reaction from River there, although these are her parents who just left. I don't know, was that Alex Kingston, River Song or Moffat's writing?
But if anyone thought this was the end of the episode now... nope, to take a bit more of emotion out of the episode, we make it back inside the TARDIS with the Doctor and River. The Doctor is moping, River has to drive. I was really glad that River did not take the Doctor up on his offer to become his new companion – I would have stopped watching the show at least until she was gone again. We also get to hear that the Doctor should not travel alone again – twice. Once by River in person and once in the Afterword that River told Amy to write into that Melody Malone novel. The Doctor going back to Central Park, finding the ripped out page (because he doesn't like endings) and basically reading Amy's farewell letter to him was a sweet idea again. I did not need him to revisit little Amelia waiting in her garden, though. I mean, the mention of Amy one day fighting pirates and saving a whale in outerspace and oh, Vincent van Gogh (!) was a nice touch, and also the hopeful note this episode was thus ending on, with Amelia's smiling face upon hearing the TARDIS noise. I just think the Doctor constantly visiting and revisiting is cramming a bit too much into that one event that has already been dealt with episodes ago. At one point, it's just enough.
I still would have wished for a more emotional last Ponds episode, because – I don't if that's me or really Moffat's writing – I find it terribly hard to feel as much as I used to since he took over. I know, this probably labels me as one of those irrational Moffat haters who mobbed the Moff off Twitter. But if that's really how it is, if people are not allowed to voice their critical opinions and personal feelings regarding a show they (still) love anymore, then... I don't know, something's going really really wrong. And I don't care what you think about me now. It's my opinion and I make use of a concept that's called freedom of speech and voice my opinion, no matter if Mr. Moffat likes it or not.

Once again, the most important things about this episode in short:

Plus Side:
the intro sequence
fedora hat!
weeping angels (usually)
the Chandler novel
Karen Gillan's and Arthur Darvill's acting
Arthur Darvill's outfit

Down Side:
River Song
lack of atmosphere after the intro sequence
plot holes/ inconsistent canon
the Doctor healing River with regeneration energy

And yes, I am gonna miss Amy and Rory, and even more so Karen and Arthur. But I'm really looking forward to the Christmas special and Jenna-Louise Coleman as a new companion, too. I just hope, now that the Ponds are gone, we saw the last of River Song too. Definitely not gonna miss her.

Dienstag, 25. September 2012

If you're going to San Francisco... (aka "302 Vanished. 3 Must Find Them.") - An "Alcatraz" (2012) Review

Damn you FOX Network! Damn you for making me fall in love with yet another show that you decided to cancel after only a few episodes/ a season. Without a proper ending.

 When I started watching Firefly I knew what I was getting myself into. I'd never had thought that I would fall for this show as hard as I did, but... I cannot be helped. I don't regret one minute I spent watching it and then rewatching again and again.

Then I started watching Drive because Hello! Nathan Fillion (and Emma Stone and Amy Acker) and nice cars. I knew it had only six episodes, but I thought.. you know... maybe it's some sort of American attempt at a mini-series a la British television. Boy was I wrong. So, here's me, getting into this show, starting to care about the characters, drooling over Nathan starting to root for Nathan's character to get his wife back... and bam! Sorry, guys, it's over and there will be no solution to anything. We just stop right in the middle of the plot and leave it at that. Because when FOX decides “Oh, hey, we changed our mind, we don't like this show after all” it's off the air faster than you can say “FOX Network sucks”.

But hey, I understand. They rather drag shows into their seventh, eighth, ninth seasons although they're already half dead. Hey, just whip the exhausted donkey some more, maybe then it'll run faster again. I guess it's better to give long overdue and undignified deaths to shows like The X Files and House MD - you know, make the audience beg for those shows to end instead of giving new shows a chance to get established and maybe run for a few seasons. Maybe it's some sort of network policy there or something. So, I fell for another show on FOX. And I really didn't expect the 13 episodes of season 1 to be all there ever will be. This show's name is Alcatraz.
And I admit, I was a bit wary when I saw it aired on FOX Network. Because of my history with cancelled shows there. But they were advertising it on the German telly like it was a big hit in the US. And I thought “They won't go through all the trouble with buying the show and dubbing it and all if it wasn't successful and if there won't be another season.” It just doesn't seem smart and very profitable.
So I started watching the show online last Wednesday. Somewhere halfway through I got actually curious and wanted to know when the second season would air (since there's only 13 episodes to season 1 but the show mentioned 302 prisoners of Alcatraz and every episodes deals more or less with one of them). Yeah well, I should I have done my research beforehand because when I read that there was only this one season, I was already hooked and just had to watch the rest of it. And now I'm finished. I have to say, the cliffhanger ending wasn't as bad as I had expected, at least some questions were answered, but there are just so many questions I still have and that I want answers to. And... did I mention I liked this show. It was good.
(Alcatraz on IMDb)

 It's, well, obviously, about Alcatraz prison. In the story Alcatraz wasn't closed in 1963, but everyone on the island simply disappeared. And now they're popping up all over present day San Francisco. There are scenes in/on Alcatraz in 1960, showing the inmates during their time in prison, what they did there, how they got punished, how they got experimented with and so on. And then there are obviously scenes set in the present, where the prisoners show up again and kill and a special ops team tries to track them down. There's Detective Rebecca Madsen, who's grandfather Tommy was one of the prisoners that disappeared and came back and who they did some experiments with during his time in prison. At first I didn't really like Rebecca, but she grew on me pretty quickly. (Also, her “uncle” Ray is played by Robert Forster aka Arthur “Papa” Petrelli from Heroes). Then there's Dr. Diego Soto, called “Doc”, who actually owns a comic book store but is also an expert on Alcatraz who has written some books about it. He's played by Jorge Garcia (man, I like this guy, I just didn't like LOST) and becomes Rebecca's partner. The two of them then get recruited by a federal agent (played by Sam Neill) who's investigating the disappearances on Alcatraz and already has some secret headquarters on the island. You know, super equipped, with secret rooms, a hidden rebuilt of the cells on Alcatraz where he locks them up again after they caught them again. You realize from the beginning that he knows more or is more involved than he will let on, especially since he even got one of the old doctors – the one with the experiments, not aged - there as well. And then there's also Lucy Banerjee, played by Parminder Nagra, who seems to be his assistant at first, but there's something going on there as well. Parminder and her lovely accent was what sold me. I adore her. There's also some of the main wardens on Alcatraz who get featured a lot in the flashbacks, Warden James and E.B. Tiller. While I think Tiller just isn't the nicest of guys and enjoys his power, Warden James is darn creepy and he's also got this secret vault under the prison and... well let's say he's very fishy. Some of the prisoners are pretty creepy and brutal as well, sometimes it gets kind of bloody, but others you even kind of feel for. I got a little crush on the pilot episode's returned prisoner Jack Sylvane. Darn, he was cute. (Leave it to me to fall for cancelled shows and bad boys.) Also: Rebecca drives this nice, dark green, 1960s Ford Mustang (IMDb Trivia tells me it's a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback). It's such a pretty pretty car (such as the one she gets to drive in the season finale – another pretty pretty Mustang, this time a new one in TARDIS blue). Give me all the cars! This show sure knows how to make a girl happy.
I don't want to spoil too much, in case anyone wants to go through the agony of watching and liking the show, knowing it's gonna get ripped away from them after only 13 episodes that don't give you a real ending with closure. It's a good show. I like it. I might even buy the dvds should they come out in Germany. And I'm gonna rewatch it, especially since I want to try to solve a bit more of the puzzle, now that I've seen the answers given in the season finale and can watch for clues.

 I've always been interested in famous old prisons, one of them being Alcatraz and so this show kind of tapped right into that. Now I'm hooked again and doing research. Well, thanks a lot, Fox Network.

Sonntag, 9. September 2012

Now, THAT's my division! - Doctor Who 7x02 "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" Review

Yeah, sorry, Lestrade pun. I couldn't help myself.
Actually, the following review is pretty much me fangirling over Rupert Graves... and, surprisingly, enjoying this episode.

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”

What a stupid title.
So what we got was a little bit Jurassic Park in space – at first I wanted to say Primeval in space, but it really wasn't much like Primeval.
I really though I would hate this episode. Because the idea is so... cheesy. And I thought Moffat would just make it some big blockbuster-y action-y thing that doesn't have much to do with Doctor Who. But to my surprise, I actually liked this episode – even better than “Asylum of the Daleks”, the only thing of which I truly enjoyed was Oswin Oswald. But, thanks to Chris Chibnall who wrote it, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” was actually a fun episode to watch. Which is really a surprise cause Chibnall wrote three of my least favourite episodes of Doctor Who (then again, he also wrote some of my favourite episodes of Torchwood - the world is a weird place).

So, at the beginning I thought I wouldn't like this episode too much. I thought it was just all really hurried and way to fast paced, with the Doctor popping in there, picking someone up, popping out again. Also, what I recognized in the Moffat era is the episode beginning somewhere in the middle of the action, but it's only a tiny bit that doesn't get much explained, and then we're somewhere else and the real episode begins. That's something I don't really like all that much. I loved the good old times, the Doctor and Rose/Martha/Donna/at times the Ponds arriving somewhere in the TARDIS and then the action begins. So, yeah.
I enjoyed the character of Queen Nefretiti. She was cute, flirty (not overly though, not like River Song), a good person, yet fierce, and a powerful woman who can actually be girly and womanly and doesn't have to be some female warrior. I also loved Amy/Nefretiti. They could have become great friends. Also, Nefretiti sacrificing herself for the dinosaurs... and the rest of the gang... aww, let me love you! Bold move. And how she took Argus Filch down... You go, Nefretiti! (Also, fun fact: I looked her up on IMDb and the actress was also in the Hamlet movie with David Tennant... aww, all in the family.)
Rupert Graves. Do I have to say more? Ok, Riddell is a big game hunter, which shouldn't make him all to sympathetic. But... hello! The Indiana Jones outfit? So hot! And... well, I just love Rupert Graves, ok? Have done so ever since I saw him in A Room With A View (way too late, because he was so young I felt like a pedophile) and especially after seeing him in Maurice (oh, he does have a big gun, yes he does... wait... what?! I didn't say anything, he was lovely in that movie. I especially liked his Cockney accent and never looked during the naked scenes. So, there you go.) and DI Lestrade is my favourite thing about Sherlock. So... Rupert Graves just made this episode for me. I also really liked his character, but that's him, he can make any character likeable. I loved his flirting with Nefretiti (boy, but they are cute together!) and Amy (refusing him was real prove for how much Amy loves Rory – I wouldn't have said no). Yeah, shall I go on? Because Rupert Graves was like... my favourite part of the episode. I know it's shallow, but I loved looking at him. And in the end, with his sleeves rolled up and the stun gun? HOT!
Oh, and Rory is a Weasley! Ok, I loved Mark Williams aka Arthur Weasley as Rory's dad Brian. He was adorable. I only have one problem, but that might be me not properly remembering my Doctor Who canon: Wasn't Rory's dad at the Ponds' wedding? And if so, why not? Because if he was, he certainly wasn't played by Mark Williams or I would remember? So who's the one not getting their canon right? Moffat or me? But that aside: Brian Williams was another highlight of this episode. I loved the father/son moments, I loved how he seems to adore Amy, I loved how he was so confused and a bit scared and didn't like to travel initially but after his adventure with the Doctor couldn't stop. I loved how he carries all this stuff around. Golf balls!
Ok, I'm not a fan of Argus Filch, I certainly wasn't one of Solomon. I'm also not sure we really needed David Bradley in this episode, because there were already two other quite famous British actors and at some point it's just too much? Why not scatter them over a view episodes? And the character really could have been played by someone else. Also, the character of Solomon... well, I get he's a typical villain, very villainous and all... but threatening Nefretiti the way he did... cause I understood his implications as either torture or rape... or both... well, maybe a bit to much for a kid's show? Although one could argue they might not understand his ... admittedly vague... threat the way I did.
Silurian ship! Well, I'm alright with them, can even like them, when they're not the main villain of the episode. (As I said: Chibnall wrote three of my least favourite episodes of Doctor Who, the series 5 Silurian two-parter included). I like Madam Vastra (and Jenny) and having the spaceship be a Silurian arc was a nice idea.
Dinosaurs! I like them! Always did and am still very fascinated by them (hey, I love Primeval). I actually started writing a Tenth Doctor & Donna Noble dinosaurs fanfic, but it never got finished and now... well, that's not the point here. Lovely dinosaurs. They weren't really all that scary, but fun and that's ok too. I loved Tricey. I want to ride on a dinosaur as well. Actually, I always wanted a dinosaur for a pet when I was little. But then, who didn't? So I felt this fit really well with the children's show aspect of Doctor Who and dealing with stuff that children like and are interested in from a different angle.
The robots: a bit ridiculous, but again very cool from the kid's show angle. And funny. After I while I quite enjoyed their bickering. Again: not very scary.
Favourite things about the episode:
Rupert Graves.
Queen Nefretiti being a BAMF.
Amy Pond! See, that's what was so wrong about last episode: Amy was some stupid woman damsel in distress there, fainting and being converted into a dalek and now... she can be so awesome. I mean, in her little group, with Nefretiti and Riddell, she kind of took over the role of the Doctor. Exploring, pressing buttons, trying to find out stuff. She was brilliant! And then in the end, when Riddell says that taking out (stunning) the dinosaurs was a two men job and Amy took the stun gun and went, saying she was as good as two men and Riddell, the big game hunter, could help... omg Amy, let me love you! (Chris Chibnall, let me love you too!) Ok, these huge differences in writing Amy might make her seem like somewhat of an inconsistent character, but I just chose to ignore the damsel in distress portrayal and focus on awesome!Amy. Because she is awesome.
Rory and Brian Williams flying the spaceship. I loved the idea.
Adding up, what I really liked best was that the Doctor wasn't some kind of almighty hero/ godlike figure, he actually got help from his friends and companions and they saved the day together. I like that. Because that's how it's supposed to be. The Doctor is no good on his own, we know that.
Yeah, so... nice and fun episode. Maybe not too scary or exciting, but with superb guest stars and really good characterization. I'd like to see more of that.
(Of course I'll have to rewatch the episode tomorrow when it's not... well past 2 am and I might be able to be more objected and not as distracted by Rupert Graves)